Section F. Admin for clergy and lay ministers
F16. Parochial and other fees
1. The Ecclesiastical Fees (Amendment) Measure 2011 has amended the Ecclesiastical Fees Measure 1986 in a number of important ways from 1 January 2013:
a) The fees previously described as being paid towards the stipend of the incumbent are now payable to the Diocesan Board of Finance (DBF). (Under transitional arrangements some incumbents will be able to retain the DBF fee with consequent adjustment of the augmentation of their stipend, but in this diocese this is limited to a very small number of cases. Those incumbents will receive written confirmation of the arrangements that will apply in their case.)
b) Fees payable to Parochial Church Councils (PCCs) are now calculated to include a contribution toward the upkeep of the church and churchyard for which the PCC is responsible. These fees do not include payment for “extras” which must be separately stated as optional and may not be charged unless specific agreement is obtained in advance from those receiving the ministry.
c) Parochial fees are payable to PCCs as well as the DBF with regard to services only conducted at crematoria. (see footnote)
d) No parochial fees are payable in relation to the funeral, burial or cremation of a person who has not reached the age of 16.
2. In general, the DBF fee relates to the provision of authorised ministry (the costs of which are usually borne by a DBF) and the PCC fee relates to church buildings and local administration and ministry costs.
3. The key guide to this has been published by the Archbishops’ Council “A Guide to Church of England Parochial Fees from January 2013” (October 2012) which is available at: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/clergy-resources/national-clergy-hr/life-events-parochial-fees-and-guidance
The Table of Parochial Fees is published by the Archbishops’ Council following approval by General Synod and Parliament. That Table is also available through the weblink above.
4. This paper gives guidelines designed to ensure that parochial fees received are properly accounted for and that clergy, PCC treasurers and the DBF are adequately protected when it comes to accounting for them.
5. A first point of contact for questions about these arrangements is the Finance Team at the Diocesan Office.
6. With regards to making arrangements for funerals the funeral director will contact the incumbent / priest in charge / vicar in a team ministry or such person (e.g. parish administrator, or a member of the parish’s ministry team) as they from time to time delegate such matters to.
7. It is open to PCCs to agree joint arrangements for the handling of fees. This may be particularly relevant where there are several parishes in the area of a benefice or, e.g, where the incumbent is priest in charge of another benefice.
A joint arrangement might be more convenient for those clergy, PCC treasurers and Diocesan Office. Where PCCs agree such arrangements it is essential that the Finance Team at the Diocesan Office is advised accordingly.
Itemised Forms for Payment of Wedding and Funeral Fees
8. The (national) Weddings Project team have developed a new form to help set out wedding fees for 2013 in itemised format, so couples can be clear about how much they need to pay for their ceremony.
This is available here: Fees Form 2015 In parallel we have produced a form for funerals in similar format.
- Funeral fees form (PDF) Note: right-click the link and click 'Save Link as' or similar. Open the document in Adobe Reader. If you fill out the document in your browser window you will not be able to save your changes.
9. These forms are designed for the minister conducting the service (or e.g. Parish Administrator) to simply enter the details for each service on-screen and save the document as an electronic file sending copies by email to PCC Treasurer (and Parish Administrator or Churchwarden etc to suit the arrangements in the parish.).
The PCC should ensure that these are retained for at least six years. They should be completed with reference to the “total fee payable” column of the Table of Parochial Fees. For funerals a copy of the form should also be sent electronically to the funeral director.
For weddings a copy of the form should be sent to the wedding couple. This may best be done in printed format rather than email as the weddings form also has space for the couple to make a gift aided donation to the PCC should they wish to do so.
PCC charges for optional items
10. The Archbishops’ Council’s publication “A Guide to Church of England Parochial Fees from January 2013” explains when extra charges may or may not be made. It also makes it clear that the amounts charged for these optional items can be decided by each PCC, provided that they are realistic and fair.
The main examples of these “extras” are charges for heating for the occasion of the wedding or funeral and the services of a verger.
11. Where the PCC is acting as an agent for others, such as an organist, it is strongly recommended that payments are made to the PCC who would then pass the funds on to those concerned. This is both simpler for those responsible for making the payments and provides a clear audit trail.
12. In the case of funerals, reasonably incurred travelling expenses (in 2013 at 45p per mile) should be reclaimed by the officiating minister direct from the funeral director, who should be notified of the mileage prior to the funeral (our form provides space for this). However in many cases the undertaker will provide transport for the minister.
13. Travelling costs for pastoral visits associated with weddings and funerals should be paid by the PCC. This one of the costs that increases in PCC fees are intended to cover. These costs should not be passed on to those receiving this ministry.
PCC as the DBF’s Agent
14. The DBF is requesting PCCs to act as its agent to receive fees and then remit them to the DBF. In view of the administration involved the DBF has agreed that PCCs in this diocese should be entitled to retain 5% of the fees that it receives on behalf of the DBF.
This amount can be deducted by PCCs from fees payable when remitting the amount due to the DBF.
15. The DBF has agreed to fund payments made on behalf of the incumbent to other ministers as set out in Paper A9.
In this respect, the PCC will be acting as an agent for the DBF and the incumbent and will make such payments as are due to these ministers out of the fees received from wedding couples or funeral directors. It is important that these payments (and expenses) are paid promptly and certainly within a month.
16. The DBF will also fund the PCC’s costs of arrangements for those with disabilities such as professional signing services. Where such costs are incurred the PCC should provide a copy of the invoice with its records when making net remittances to the DBF. More information on using signing services via the links below:
- Guidelines from the Archbishops' Council for the provision of BSL/English Interpreters for weddings and funerals
- Church Support Hub: Using BSL interpreters at funerals
- Deaf Direct is a local organisation which can provide BSL interpreters for churches across the whole diocese.
17. When the PCC is acting as the DBF’s agent in this way it is important that (other than for the 5% retained) the DBF’s fees (and their remittance to the DBF) are not accounted for as the PCC’s income (and expenditure); the PCC is not at liberty to use funds held on behalf of the DBF for its own cash flow purposes.
18. In the event that the PCC does not wish to act as the DBF’s agent, the PCC Treasurer should contact the Assistant Diocesan Secretary (Finance) who will then make arrangements with the Incumbent / Priest in Charge / Vicar in a Team Ministry with regards to being advised as to when fees are due to the DBF.
Recording Receipts & Payments
19. The itemised forms for the wedding couple and funeral director deliberately do not distinguish between fees due to the PCC and the DBF; they should be completed with reference to the “total fee payable” column of the Table of Parochial Fees.
20. Those responsible for payment of the fees should be asked to do so in a single cheque to the PCC. Cash payments should be discouraged. It is in order for funeral directors to make payments on a calendar month basis provided there is an itemised statement clearly identifying each funeral to which it relates.
21. A form for recording receipts and analysing them into those due to the PCC and DBF is available either as an Excel spreadsheet or in a PDF version for printing. The form also provides for recording where payments are made to ministers conducting services.
This form should be used to accompany remittances to the DBF. It together with the itemised forms for each service should be kept for at least six years and need to be available, as an audit trail, to the PCC’s Independent Examiner (or Auditor) and the DBF’s officers and Auditor.
22. Fees due to the DBF (net of payments made and the 5% retained by the PCC for administration) should be remitted at least quarterly, or in those parishes where a relatively larger number of services takes place on a monthly basis.
The Diocesan Office will contact PCC Treasurers of those PCCs where a monthly return would be appropriate. PCCs should ensure that these returns are sent in within a month of each quarter-end even if a “nil” return is submitted.
23. The returns should be sent to the Finance Team, The Old Palace, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JE, either with the PCC’s cheque or indicating how payment of the net amount due to the DBF is being made e.g. by BACS. Please do not include any bank details of any sort in emails.
Waiving of Parochial Fees
24. The Archbishops’ Council’s “A Guide to Church of England Parochial Fees from January 2013” explains how the law provides for fees to be waived in particular cases and who has the authority to do so with regard to the fees due to the PCC and the DBF.
25. The guidance sets out that this should only be “in cases of clear financial hardship”. For fees to be waived in other circumstances such as simply that the fees effective in 2013 will be higher than when a couple made their wedding arrangements would be a breach of the charity trustee obligations of a PCC and/or DBF in foregoing a payment due by law.
26. Where the DBF’s fees are waived the PCC’s return of fees to the DBF should record this on every occasion. Similarly, when the PCC waives its fees a record will need to be kept for the PCC’s own accounting purposes.
“Where funerals are not held in church, which is the relevant PCC and DBF?” In respect of PCC fees for services at public cemeteries or crematoria, the 1986 Measure (as amended) sets out which PCC should receive the fee (extract from section 1(7), regarding which
a) deals with services in churches and churchyards).
b) where the fee relates to a burial or funeral service which takes place otherwise than in a church or churchyard, the council of the parish on whose electoral roll the deceased was entered, provided that where the deceased was entered on the electoral roll of more than one parish, the fee shall be shared equally between each of the councils of those parishes,
(c) where the fee relates to a burial or funeral service which takes place otherwise than in a church or churchyard and the deceased was not entered on any electoral roll, the council of the parish where the deceased had his or her usual place of residence, and
(d) in any other case, the council of the parish where the service or other event to which the fee relates takes place;’.
In respect of DBF fees for services at public cemeteries or crematoria, the amended 1986 Measure sets out which DBF should receive the fee (extract from section 1(7)). ‘b) where the fee relates to a burial or funeral service which takes place otherwise than in a church or churchyard, the diocesan board of finance of the diocese within which the deceased was a parishioner, provided that, where the deceased was a parishioner in more than one diocese, the fee shall be shared equally between each of the diocesan boards of finance.'